No politics, just family fun: push to bring Australia Day fireworks back to Freo

Fremantle business owners are pooling together to bring Australia Day fireworks back to the city. Photo: Angus Brooks
Fremantle business owners are pooling together to bring Australia Day fireworks back to the city. Photo: Angus Brooks
Australia Day is traditionally marked with firework displays across the nation. Photo: Chris Blunt

Australia Day is traditionally marked with firework displays across the nation. Photo: Chris Blunt

Businesses around Fremantle's fishing boat harbour are pooling their resources to bring back the city's Australia Day fireworks.

The popular event was scrapped by Fremantle Council from 2017 after councillors deemed the annual celebration 'culturally insensitive.'

"There has been a growing movement that January 26 is increasingly becoming a day that is 'not for all Australians'," Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said.

"For many Aboriginal Australians it is indeed a day of sadness and dispossession."

The council will instead host a family-friendly event to celebrate being Australian on a different date yet to be finalised.

But local business owners including Henry Liascos from iconic fish and chip restaurant Cicerellos want to see Australia Day fireworks restored to Fremantle - and they're stumping up the cash to put it on themselves.

"We have just all had a meeting and decided to put in an application to the council for us to hold a fireworks event on Australia Day, January the 26th in the harbour," Mr Liascos said.

The veteran Fremantle businessman was instrumental in first bringing Australia Day fireworks to Fremantle, partnering with the council for the first two years of the event until the local authority took it over completely.

He said the decision to axe Fremantle's Australia Day fireworks was disappointing and seemed to be motivated by possible financial problems at the council rather than a desire for cultural sensitivity.

"Something like 50,000 people come to the fireworks so it can't be all bad can it? What we want to do is put on something very family friendly, no politics or anything like that," Mr Liascos said.

"My parents came to Australia from Greece and worked hard and we've made a good living here. We want to celebrate - not a big extravaganza, just something families can enjoy."

Businesses from the Fremantle Harbour Trades Committee including Cicerellos and Kailis Brothers have decided to financially support the initiative and are calling on other local retailers to join in.

While coy on naming a price for putting on the show, Mr Liascos joked while it wouldn't be too expensive the event would stand up to previous years.

"Look mate, we're just a fish and chip shop! But we'll do it right and make sure it's a good day for everyone."

This story No politics, just family fun: push to bring Australia Day fireworks back to Freo first appeared on WA Today.